Everything You Need to Know About Trigger Points

Back pain is common and can develop from many causes, including arthritis, ruptured discs, sprains, and strains. But your muscles can develop tight bands of irritated tissue, referred to as trigger points, that can be a source of chronic, radiating back pain. 

At Back to Wellness Medical Center in Bend, Oregon, our experienced chiropractor, Dr. Helmut Eichner, specializes in back pain and offers targeted treatments for trigger points focused on healing the tightly wound tissue and relieving your pain.

Trigger point pain is common, but you may not be all that familiar with how the irritated knots of muscle develop or how they cause so much pain. We wanted to share everything you need to know about trigger points so you can get the care you need.

What are trigger points?

The American Academy of Family Physicians describes trigger points as tiny, contracted points of irritated tissue found in your skeletal muscle. Trigger points are painful when pressed and may cause radiating pain or tenderness that affects other parts of your body that seem completely unrelated to the location of your trigger point (known as referred pain). The taut band of irritated tissue also contracts or dimples the skin when pressed.

Trigger points are classified as active or latent. An active trigger point causes pain when pressed. Latent trigger points don’t cause pain, but limit movement or cause muscle weakness. 

What causes trigger points?

An injury, stress from poor posture, or overuse may lead to the development of the sensitive knots of muscle. Lack of exercise, vitamin deficiencies, and poor sleeping habits may make you more vulnerable to the micro-trauma that causes trigger points to develop. 

It’s possible your occupation may be the underlying cause of your muscle pain. Sitting at a computer all day with your head bent and your shoulders hunched may overload specific muscles in your neck or shoulders. Over time, the chronic stress causes tiny areas of the muscle to remain in a contracted state, creating the nodule of pain. 

The radiating effects of your trigger points

Trigger points generally cause a deep aching sensation in a specific area of your neck or back. The contracted muscle nodule may also limit mobility and affect sleep.

In addition to the pain specific to the area of your tight, sensitive muscle, trigger points may also cause other health issues. Tension headaches, eye problems, jaw pain, and torticollis (contraction in the neck muscles that causes your head to twist to one side) may develop from trigger points located in your neck or shoulders. Trigger points in your lower back may cause pain that radiates to your thighs or impair knee or ankle mobility.

Alleviating your trigger point pain

At Back to Wellness Medical Center, we can treat your trigger points and alleviate your symptoms with electrical muscle stimulation. When delivered to your sensitive tissue, the electric currents cause a thermal, chemical, and physiological response that suppresses pain signals and activates healing to the tightly contracted tissue. 

In addition to electrical stimulation, we also recommend chiropractor care to improve alignment and posture to alleviate stress on your muscles, as well as physical therapy to improve muscle strength and body mechanics to prevent development of trigger points.

Whether from your job or an injury, trigger points can be the source of many pain conditions. For treatment and relief, call Back to Wellness Medical Center or request an appointment online today. 

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